The big drama of Israel’s four closely spaced national elections in 2019–21 was accompanied by another, smaller, drama: the country’s plunge into political chaos gave the Shas party an opportunity for electoral, organisational, and political revitalisation. The four election campaigns transformed Shas from a Mizrahi-Haredi party in decline, barely able to pass the minimum vote threshold, into a stable party practicing a tightly focused politics–living proof that Haredi politicians were again occupying positions of power and influence. Not only did Shas do outstanding organisational and political work; it also demonstrated an impressive ability to align with the Israeli right’s core national-political agenda: the connection between security and tradition. The language of the Shas message evolved from one election campaign to another: what started as a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) discourse of cultural partnership with a religious-lite or masorti (traditionalist) public turned into a Zionist discourse of national partnership with a ‘right-lite’ voting public (Likud).
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- 2019-21 Israeli elections
- Aryeh Deri
- ultra-Orthodox politics